History

The UNC Lineberger Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Support Program began in October of 2015, through the generous support of the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation. Be Loud! raised funds through amazing local fundraising efforts and partnered with UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to hire an Adolescent and Young Adult Program Director, Lauren Lux, LCSW. In July of 2017, the program added its second team member, Adolescent and Young Adult Medical Director, Andrew Smitherman, MD, MSc.

Mission

The mission of the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Support Program is to provide age-appropriate psychosocial and medical care for patients ages 13-30, advance research in the AYA field, develop innovative programming, educate and train providers about the unique needs of AYAs, and lead AYA oncology advocacy efforts in North Carolina.

Who We Serve

The Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Support Program works with 13-30 year olds living with cancer or in survivorship at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our goal is to provide individualized support and advocacy.

The AYA Survivorship Clinic serves cancer patients who were diagnosed between the ages of 13-39 and are finished with active treatment.

Our Team

Adolescent and Young Adult Program Director

Lauren Lux, LCSW, is a clinical social worker with a passion for working with adolescents and young adults living with cancer. Originally from the Midwest, she completed her master’s in social work at the University of Chicago, and directly after secured grant funding to create the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center’s first Pediatric Oncology Social Work program.

She moved to North Carolina six years ago when her husband became a student at Duke (Lauren was an AVID Duke basketball fan prior to this event). Lauren was hired as the AYA program director in October of 2015 and has been meeting patients and families and growing the program ever since. Her work as program director focuses on patient care, psychosocial research, programming, education, and advocacy.


Adolescent and Young Adult Medical Director

Andrew “Smitty” Smitherman, MD, MSc, is a “true blue” North Carolinian whose academic journey has taken him from one end of the state to the other. Smitty received his AB in religious studies from Davidson College and then worked as a high school teacher in Winston-Salem before deciding that medicine is his true calling. He then attended medical school at East Carolina before coming to UNC for a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship.

Smitty’s research and clinical interests focus on improving cancer care for adolescents and young adults as well as survivors of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancers. Supported by a St. Baldrick’s Fellowship and using analyses of administrative databases, his work to date has examined the patterns of health care usage among survivors to characterize emerging chronic treatment-related morbidities. Building on this experience, he plans to study ways to use biomarkers of aging for the early identification of these morbidities. Currently, he is leading a study using the UNC Lineberger Cancer Information & Population Health Resource (CIPHR) to describe the patterns of cancer care and clinical trial enrollment among AYAs in North Carolina.